Last Week’s Lesson–Row 80 Check-in

Last week was kind of hectic for me. I’m a bit rebellious by nature. And while I love the structure that comes with setting goals, I have to be flexible in the way I pursue them. I read a lot of books on self-discipline and productivity last summer.  They were helpful in many ways, but they also drilled into me this rigid way of doing things. Being rigid, I’ve learned, leaves me railing against guidelines that were put in place to help me. The week’s theatrics have left me with this lesson–

This is my path; I get to make the decisions.

With all the writing advice out there, sometimes it’s hard not to wobble to and fro trying to keep up with it all. It is absolutely exhausting trying to read every blog or book that’s recommended. Or trying to match my way of doing things up with some successful author validated routine. I have been making myself crazy.

I found myself on Amazon the other day looking through books that were recommended to me and discovered that I was completely unmotivated to read them let alone buy them. They’d just become more shoulds on a list that I’m already working to shorten. I’m choosing to spend more time doing the activities that I want to do and the ones that I feel will benefit my writing the most. I am officially in charge.

On to goals:

The writing is still going well. I haven’t missed a day. I’m thinking that 250 will probably become my permanent test mile number. It seems that I can bang out that number no matter what. I’ve tried 500 words before and found that I tend to miss a few days. I used to write 250 word articles for a website. I think that I’m so used to that word count that it is second nature at this point.

I haven’t done any novel analyzing work since Wednesday, and I’m okay with that. Of all the goals I’ve set for myself, it is the one that gives me the most grief. And to cut down on that angst, I’m letting go of the time frame I set for myself. I’m not adjusting it. I’m scrapping it altogether. The funny thing is I’ll probably get it done faster because I’ve stopped pressuring myself.

Story Engineering is getting it’s due. I’m not a fast reader in general, but craft books, especially the good ones, tend to be slower reading for me. Still loving it though.

And I’ve picked up Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind which is another hulking fantasy book. I’d been putting off reading it trying not to take too much time from (you guessed it) novel analyzing. I start to get weird when I’m not reading fiction, weirder when it’s because of some self-inflicted torture. Sooo…

I hope all is well with you guys. Happy ROWing! Until Wednesday.


Posted on January 15, 2012, in ROW 80 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Glad you’re choosing to do thing your way! There’s a lot of advice out there but if it don’t work for you then you don’t have to take it. Your life; your rules!

  2. Bravissimo for you! You’ve reached the point where you decide what’s best for you. It took me far too long to get there. I’m reading The Art and Craft of Fiction by Victoria Mixon, and like you with Story Engineering, I’m taking it slow and savoring the book. Enjoy your new freedom from rigid rules!

  3. you seem to do better without the rules so go for it – being a non-rule kinda of person myself:)

    all the best for coming week

  4. Yolanda –

    This put a big silly grin on my face!

    I came to this same place in my life a few years ago….

    My catalyst was parenting. I read and read. Books on get-tough parenting. Books on playful parenting. Lots of books on lot of techniques for getting kids to do what I wanted them to do.

    Then I realized that Jeremiah and Annalise are not techniques. They’re people.

    So I shifted everything. I stopped reading advice, unless it FELT right, to me.

    I looked at the two children in front of me, and filtered all my reading and learning through what THEY needed.

    And then, everything changed, in big ways and small ones, but always for the better.

    I would never go back to the way things were.

    I get that feeling from this post,.like you are standing at the edge of something that will bring you more and more joy.

    It takes courage and strength to claim your path and design it for your own journey.

    I salute you! =D

  5. Ah Shan, it seems we are kindred. There is a certain risk that comes with the decision to do things your own way. I don’t think I’ve been willing to accept that responsibility up until now, but it feels that I’m cheating myself any other way. I’m glad that you came to that place as well.

  6. yay for you! Advice is just that at the end of the day, we have to do what works for us or we will never achieve anything. being able to balance that with taking note of the advice is the true route to success! 😀

  7. hi yolanda! i think everyone can use that advice, so thanks for sharing. if we all had magic balls when we wrote up our goals, then we’d be able to predict those days when all you can do is eat junk food and read 🙂

    happy writing this week!

  8. “This is my path; I get to make the decisions.”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! This is so important, and it’s a truth I keep turning away from, not believing in, not allowing. Thank you for putting it right out there where I had to run into it.

    The first part of your post really struck a chord with me. I get caught up in all the “I should read this book, follow that plan, read this, look at that, try this other thing” babble, and I forget that I can just do what feels like it’s working for me. Once again, thank you for putting all of this out there.

    And finally, a great big WOO HOO! for the writing. Awesome work!

    • “…it’s a truth I keep turning away from, not believing in, not allowing.”

      Kim, we are speaking each other’s language. I couldn’t have summed up that struggle better myself. Breakthroughs all around. How does it get any better than that?

  9. There isn’t much to be said that you didn’t say better… You’ve taken control, and it’s beautiful.

  10. This is brilliant. You are brilliant. My husband once looked at me and said, “Stop reading about writing and start writing!”

    I try to listen to that –mostly. Sometimes there are some things that have helped me. But then I have to stop — the freakin book is not going to get magically written because we read the perfect way to do it. Right?

  11. Thanks so much Amy! Got yourself a smart one there!

    I have nothing against guidance, constructive criticism or any outside help. It’s only a problem when the dominant voice in my head is no longer my own. If I start to feel guilty for following my own inner compass, then it means I need to take several steps back. At the end of the day, I have to be willing and able to follow my heart.

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